Injecting ‘Californian vibes’ inside Kimpton Alma San Diego

Hospitality design studio Indidesign was tasked to transform the former Kimpton Palomar into vibey boutique bombshell – cue the arrival of Kimpton Alma San Diego…

bath overlooking San Diego city

Poised in the heart and soul of Downtown San Diego, the Kimpton Alma is an eclectic boutique lifestyle hotel with a laid-back feel. Formerly known as the Kimpton Palomar, the hotel underwent a transformation that reflects the sense of humour and edginess of the city that is rarely showcased. The lobby welcomes guests to Alma with access to a bar, lower-level cafe, and outdoor patio for an inviting, hospitable experience.

A light and bright, contemporary lobby and bar in hotel in San Diego

Image credit: Will Pryce

The hotel’s premier restaurant, The Desmond, boasts three dining areas totalling 112 covers – it’s a timeless destination restaurant, designed with a mix of historical and contemporary elements. The interior scheme weaves deep blue and greens as well as brighter tones to open up the space for an approachable setting that is also intimate in nature.

Kimpton Alma San Diego shelters 176 rooms and 35 suites – five of which are penthouse suites with two levels. The pool deck and ‘Leave of Absence’ lounge provide a 1,893 square-metre expanse where guests can swim, grab a quick bite, or simply take in some fresh coastal air.

Designed by award-winning hospitality design studio Indidesign, Alma expresses the uniqueness of the Southern Californian lifestyle. Instead of theming the hotel with a beachy and surfer aesthetic, Indidesign veered away from the stereotypical vision of San Diego and drew inspiration from the border city’s connection to Mexican heritage, street culture, and obsession with comic books to create a brand new identity for Alma, deeply rooted in its surroundings. Indidesign wanted guests to feel privileged, relaxed, surprised, and appreciated all while embracing Alma’s familiar spirit to feel right at home.

Blue headboard in hotel with quirky side table

Image credit: Will Pryce

Alma’s design is simple yet complex with high attention to detail. The rooms are designed to look and feel residential with bright open spaces. All rooms feature small cacti that reference the local species of San Diego, along with meditation pillows and eco-friendly cork yoga mats for wellness.

A large, expansive suite in Kimpton hotel in San Diego

Image credit: Will Pryce

One of the strongest design features is the window seating in the standard rooms that allow guests to immerse themselves in the city. In-room dining and work surfaces by the window were a key move to reinvent how the space functions. In the details, the accommodations are adorned with textiles and decor that pay homage to Mexican culture and the spa bathrooms in the guestrooms offer standalone tubs that further emphasise the feeling of wellness.

Outside pool in Kimpton San Diego with large mural on wall

Image credit: Will Pryce

Indidesign created a large array of bespoke designs for Alma, including textiles, furniture, wall panelings, and wall coverings. Textile patterns were inspired by traditional Mexican motifs, with an Indidesign spin, along with handmade tapestries and convex mirrors set in handwoven baskets that cement the luxury lifestyle experience. The walls at Alma are a focal point, intended to draw the eye with a variety of artistic wall pieces—lacquered wall panelings with geometric motifs being one of them. In the guestrooms, unique wall organisers stand out as functional statement pieces. Wall coverings with a nod to graffiti and tattoo art fill the walls in some of the guest bathrooms. In the public areas, large murals from local artists and one-of-a-kind artworks illustrate the fun and laid-back attitude of San Diego.

> Since you’re here, why not read our latest roundtable on ‘reimagining luxury in hotel design’? 

Main image credit: Will Pryce